Saturday, March 21, 2015

Scottie Dog Button is it Bakelite or Milk Glass?

Sometimes being wrist deep in someone else's old buttons yields some interesting results and fun buttons you were not searching for to begin with. Case in point, I found this button:
The Scottie dog button is appears it could be made of Milk Glass. At first I thought it might be Bakelite, but searches of the button sent me back to milk glass as you will see below. 

So what is Milk Glass?

According to Wikipedia. "Milk Glass is an opaque or translucent milky white or colored glass, brown or pressed into a wide variety of shapes." First made in Venice, its colors included brown, which is the color of my button.

How does that differ from Bakelite?

Again, from Wikipedia, Bakelite/Baekelite is an early plastic. "It is a thermosetting phenol or polyoxybenzlmethylenglycolanhydride formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde." It was first developed in the early 1900s. 

Sounds like something that killed people when they made it doesn't it? Or maybe just preserved them.

Both have similar weights. Bakelite has some interesting testing one can do. My favorite was rubbing to heat it and check for the smell of formaldehyde, yummy...

Could be Celluloid as a possibility, but there appears to be a weight factor. My button feels like the weight of glass. Done to both Milk Glass and Bakelite, there is some sort of smoothing that was done to the sides from the mold press. Knowing what to look for I see the same thing on the button below.

So, why am I thinking this is Milk Glass? Searching the internet, I found this exact button but painted on the web. Here is the photo of a sale that was completed in 2011. Sale price, highest bidder, $2.99.

Here is mine and the one from side by side
Now mine is not painted, but would both Milk Glass and Bakelite have the exact same molds? The jury is out as to which it is, but it sure is a fun novelty button. So, who really cares? What ever it is, I need to think of a good use for it now. I could paint it.

In the same wrist deep search I found these as well:
You are looking at two buttons with one of them flipped so you can see the back. They appear to be plastic buttons, but I love the hole placements and the whole modern decade look theme. One can have fun with colorful thread attaching these to something.

The rest of my finds were shell and a few glass buttons. I found some good, didn't buy the bad and enjoyed getting my wrists dirty.


  1. oh wow I have quite a collection of vintage buttons too, love your scottie dog-if it were mine I would not paint him never thought of buttons made with milk glass-cool thanks for the research

  2. I wouldn't paint him. I would leave him in his original state. He is quite beautiful. I look forward to seeing what you will do with him. :-)

  3. From the pictures, I think the scottie dog looks much better unpainted. But you probably cannot go wrong either way. Very nice.